High-Performance Composites

NOV 2014

High-Performance Composites is read by qualified composites industry professionals in the fields of continuous carbon fiber and other high-performance composites as well as the associated end-markets of aerospace, military, and automotive.

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2 6 | H I G H - P E R F O R M A N C E C O M P O S I T E S SHOW REVIEW 2 6 | H I G H - P E R F O R M A N C E C O M P O S I T E S N SHOW REPORT early 850 attendees gathered to assess the state of composite ma- terials in automotive platforms at the Society of Plastics Engineers' Au- tomotive Composites Conference and Exhibition (ACCE), held at the Diamond Banquet and Conference Center at the Suburban Collection Showplace venue in Novi, Mich., from Sept. 9 -11. ACCE welcomed 68 exhibitors (see a sampling of the new products on display at ACCE, beginning on p. 58) and, with the aid of numerous event sponsors, felded a technical program that com- prised more than 80 presentations, roundtable discus- sions and keynote speeches, covering advances and is- sues in the areas of thermoset compos- ites, thermoplastic composites, nano- composites, virtual prototyping/testing and sustainability as well as business trends and tech- nology solutions for autocomposites applications. In the past, the ACCE's executive panel discussion has been a "reality check" for composites advocates. This year was no exception. Moderated by Jay Baron, president and CEO of the non- proft Center for Automotive Research (CAR, Ann Arbor, Mich.), the panel in- cluded Dr. Paul Krajewski, global man- ager and technical fellow for vehicle mass integration and strategy at Gener- al Motors (Detroit, Mich.); Tom Pilette, VP, product and process development, at automotive systems supplier Magna International (Troy, Mich. and Aurora, Ontario, Canada); Harry Singh, execu- tive program manager at design frm EDAG (Fulda, Germany); Martin Star- key, director, Gurit Automotive (New- port, Isle of Wight, U.K.); and Dr. Peter Friedman, manager of manufacturing research, Ford Motor Co. (Dearborn, Mich.). Reluctant to embrace composite materials per se, panelists instead pre- ferred to discuss lightweighting in terms of multimaterial solutions. General Motors' Krajewski admitted that there are many targets for saving weight, including interiors, wheels and the vehicle frame, but he observed that "the customers only want a solution that works, and they don't care about which material is used." He went on to say that whatever material is selected, his team needs to be able to model it and predict its performance, and he suggested com- posites suppliers take their cue from the steel industry, where competitors have worked together as a group to collectively develop new, lighter material forms. EDAG's Singh pointed out that the steel industry has reinvented itself, quot- ing a cost of only $500 for a complete steel car body. Today's steel, he added sig- nifcantly, is 10 times stronger and bet- ter in quality than that of a decade ago. He did admit that, given the new CAFE standards, "any material is on the table, due to the activity in many areas." But Ford's Friedman emphasized, "We can't just substitute new materials for old. We try to be material-agnostic, and use any material where it needs to be within a multimaterial vehicle." Gurit's Starkey pointed out that, given the many forms of resins and reinforce- ments, composites are "infnitely tailor- able for any application," but deciding on the right mix and the right process, given that huge range of possibilities, presents an unusual challenge. When asked if lighter cars (i.e., those containing a lot of composites) are as safe as steel-bodied cars, panelists an - swered yes while noting that designs need to provide an adequate level of safety, no matter what the material. Mag- na's Pilette pointed out that with more required safety features, such as backup cameras and self-braking systems, which add weight to the vehicle, the pressure is on to reduce weight in other systems to compensate, yet maintain safety. As in previous years, the panel con- cluded that composites make sense for Automotive composites still on the horizon — are they getting closer? SPE ACCE 2014 REPORT ACCE highlight: The Executive Panel Moderated by Jay Baron (Center for Automotive Research, Ann Arbor, Mich.), ACCE's always illuminating Executive Panel discussion provided autocomposites advocates a strong "reality check." Tracing technological links In his keynote address at ACCE, Dr. Jan Anders Månson, professor and VP at the École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (Lausanne, Switzerland), examined the links between composites used in sporting goods and those now earning a place in high-performance automotive applications. Source: SPE ACCE Source: SPE ACCE

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